Tag Archives: poetry

The Battle

The Battle

The Battle

The Battle
by Justine Mara Andersen

A thousand slobbering snarling Rakshasa Demons spit rage,
At my hilltop gates, they know the highest weakness of my walls,
They know every secret chambers in the cellar of my heart,
Though time and again I have thrown myself in surrender,
This once I will hold my own with Ma Durga’s fury as my will,
However foul their jibes and cries, we’ll stare them back to hell.

A thousand Rakshasa Demons spit acid at my every stone,
Fueled by the memory of my many sad sinking surrenders,
They have grown large as elephants and mightier than storms,
These demon fires in my skull surge hell throughout my veins,
And though they bash and batter sorrow at my walls without relent,
I grit my teeth and in my fists clench hard-won holy weapons.

They will not advance a single step under Ma Durga’s tiger’s eye,
Whose breath is like a blacksmith’s sparks spraying through my hair,
With rage and fury we set ablaze my oily doubts and tears,
And fly these black fires from our parapet into the clutching horde,
Ten arms of Durga raise their weapons to shield my every failing,
I still myself on trust in her whilst our fiery blaze consumes them.

Emboldened by so many battles won, again the demons charge,
Battering me with obscenities and curses they’ve handcrafted,
From the rhythms of my beating heart and the crimson of my blood,
In peace and with one breath of God I blow out all their flames,
And in the stillness bind them to each nightmare they inspire,
They’ll not have me, this time at last, for I am not of them.

By the still of day I sit beside the fountain, head in hands,
Bowed down under the weight of battle, we bind my every wound.
I catch my breath and hold still the panic, for even now I know,
What horrors are to come this night, I cry to think them mine,
To Temple I go to silence the raging of such deep infected wounds,
And seek the peace of stillness in the heartless hell to come.

They will come and come again, undeterred and in great hordes,
Until I deny them these coals of cowardice crumbling from my soul,
Until I live less my every weakness and live more my every strength,
By day the birds sing golden sunshine swirls above the temple tower,
From below wafts songs of temple spice and the sweetness of prasadam,
Whilst within the Temple of the silent self waits all I have to hold me.

Shiva, The Eagle and I


Shiva, The Eagle and I
by Justine Mara Andersen

Sister eagle as you fly,
I hear the wind in your wings,
As though they are mine,
For are they not?

Mother rain as you fall,
I breathe in your rising mist,
And take it all in me,
As I rise and fall.

Hunter hawk of my woods,
I come to join you,
Together we stand,
And you allow it.

And wild turkeys beyond,
Still as the mighty hawk,
Steady is our stance,
We four are one.

White skull of the deer,
Mounted above my window,
Eagle, hawk, turkey and I
Will be bone too.

Lord Shiva in my eyes,
Show me that bones and ash,
Are nothing but rain,
For we are all as you.

Om Shivoham.

Om Shivoham.

Om Shivoham.



by Justine Mara Andersen

How well do I wish him?
Now I wish him well away,
Yet it’s his mad infection,
in my skin like a splinter.

I want nothing from him,
Not even his sad failing,
Nor any further falling,
Other than from my mind.

I wish him well but only,
If he be gone and done,
Silent to me as old bones,
Done to me as any scar.

How well do I wish him?
I wish him nothing less,
Than I wish for myself,
Peace and all forgetting.

Peace and all forgetting.


The Waiting Room


The Waiting Room
by Barefoot Justine

Loneliness is a shabby waiting room,
The magazines like tattered Bibles,
And I have read them all before.

I wait sick, sweaty as a child,
Whose belly ache is the very sun,
Where all my joys are burned to ash.

The wait is longer than a splinter,
Ocean deep, a canker in my skin,
And I can see no end to it.

The lamplight dims and this room,
Consumes me into its empty belly,
And I forget that I was waiting.

So I curl into a ball and forget,
That loneliness is a waiting room,
And not every bite I swallow.

Then you appear faint as a phantom,
A misty shimmer, a hesitant yes,
Yet with a shadow that denies me.

Though my ears perk at the promise,
I dare not see you with my eyes,
And burrow down my old dark hollows.

Wait… I dare to think it so,
Was that you that whispered,
And stirred me from my blankets?

My fear-cramped fingers do uncurl,
Hesitantly towards your warmth,
Yet with hope in their reaching.

Dare I remember the truth,
That loneliness is a waiting room,
One small place and nothing more?

Are you there, beyond the door,
Dare I uncurl into the cold,
Do I dispel the cling of darkness?

I have before, left this room,
Only to be shoved back within,
Wearing a skin of newfound fear.

I curl back my fingers tight,
Plug my ears with old doubts,
Squint against the light of hope.

Are you still shimmering for me,
Holding the door open a crack,
Warm and tremorous, like me?

Eyes closed I recall the sun,
Golden in a sea of brilliant blue,
And remember what I once knew…

That loneliness is a waiting room,
And I do not have to stay here,
I do not have to wait here.

Dare I smile as I warmly cry,
Dare I move an inch for fear,
You will run like the doe?

If I uncurl and leave this room,
I will need to eat and drink,
And I will need to be held.

Tell me when I may burn it down,
that grave, that coffin, nothing that,
This shabby little waiting room.

Lines & Questions


Lines & Questions
by Barefoot Justine

I will give and I will take,
I will watch you cry tears,
I have served like tea.

My regrets are of the heart,
My mistakes have legs,
And they chase me down.

Each demon I battle is mine,
Like a lifelong lover,
They know me as a mother.

I skip like an old album,
Stuck in well worn grooves,
Like a bed I despise.

I suffer my every excess,
And celebrate my extremes,
And wonder which am I.

My mistakes are like wool,
I wear them like a choker,
And sweat under them.

I see myself repeating,
And hear that I know better,
And ask, who is that I?

Who is that curious I,
Can I tolerate being,
In her skin another day?

Or can I love all she is,
Can I know that this I,
Is perfect as she is?

I am this and then that,
Love, hate, peace, anger,
I am light and I am darkness.

I am a beast and a flower,
I am anger and compassion,
And you will see what you will.

I am a beast and a flower,
I am anger and compassion,
And I will be all I must.

Shiva, Swamp, Guru


Shiva, Swamp, Guru
by Barefoot Justine

My longing plays its ripples upon your placid lake,
My forever is the flowing of your loving grace,
My walking is deep study of your truth and light,
My joy it only rises if after you I’ve given chase.

My guru is this swamp, green and one in all as I,
He is the path I walk and the rainfall all around,
He is hot sand underfoot, and tall amidst the pines,
On this path, as within, his wisdom is the ground.

Oh winding guru I felt your wholeness in my heart,
In coming home to your shaded land of golden sand,
Where wisdom of the wolves laps the swampy shores,
Where ash of Shiva’s embers warms me as I stand.

Once trees with fiery hollows graced my eyes with awe,
In my guru Agni danced in silks of red and gold,
Among the ashes, deep as snow, I as Aghori roamed,
Under ash embers burned in Mahadev’s stronghold.

Shiva dances maya in the windsong between the leaves,
He nests my pains into a hole amidst the tallest pines,
My guru is this forest and all I know there grows,
Where Soma’s light falls in Shiva’s deepest shrines.

Be with me Guru on Kuruksetra as I string my bow,
Come to me oh Guru, in the restless dark of night,
Reveal to me your self in dreams if not in words,
May I sleep in your embrace of one of love in light.

Stealing Home


Stealing Home
by Barefoot Justine

I came to be, under suburban skies more blue than Penny Lane,
A carnival-sweet breeze, the air crisp and green as a Granny Smith,
Sundrenched, adrift, a leaf in the Kool-Aid streets of my childhood,
But I was no child, it was now, I was me, No homework on my back.

Grown up or not, I was still the barefoot girl, same as I knew,
Though conspicuous, brazen, topless, tan and deliciously lost,
The air whispering silk and feather nothings across my breasts,
The streets kissing tar and shard threats under my feet and toes.

Children ran by with streamers and smiles flown high as kites,
Their day-off moms and dads, blissful as candy-apple Buddhas,
A market, a fair, Rockwell painting with all the trimmings,
And I stealing home, and I me, one with, but not one of, them.

A feral flush of tingling joy and naughty nervousness teased me,
In rhythm with each delicious step of barefoot summertime freedom,
Drinking a soda pop cocktail of wild abandon and giggly paranoia,
For what if I was spied, discovered, disapproved of or busted?

Oh my!

My nipples plump as strawberries and ruddy as Bollywood skin,
Pointing the way to ecstasies timed to roller coaster heartbeats,
My toes flexible, the chill air licking tickles between them,
As I, a Red Riding Hood, scurried, climbed, snuck and hurried.

Triangulating between three errands and three states of feeling,
Confusion, how to cover the miles and find my way in my errands,
Terror, I might be busted, copped and jailed topless with pot,
Delight, in getting away with my own hot-buttered drive-in movie.

In shorts alone, tattered denim, bells, toe-rings and bangles,
Long curls, brown here, red there, and hippie in the highlights,
Me a flurry of pink and purple, denim and cheap belled jewelry,
My dark chocolate eyes lit like sparklers under disco eyeshadow,

The silk to silk softness of arms rubbing against ribs a reminder,
I was bare breasted, my porcelain belly creamy as vanilla pudding,
Climbing up and jumping down my teacup breasts bobbled and fizzed,
Each jiggle a jarring reminder that I was more than half-naked.

I was Bardot, I was Mara, I was Hazel, I was barefoot Justine,
I was topless in public, my body, a playground, my day a funhouse,
Unimpressed and scarcely oppressed by pragmatism and patriarchy,
Too slinky and sly to let them shame me, tame me or tie me down,


Oh I dreamt every cinnamon and sugar tremble of panic as I went,
Down towards a busy road, buzzing before the miles yet to go,
How could I do it, bare as I was, how would I bear the crowds,
How could I ride this wild tiger, could I make her Shakti mine?

Every block a new adventure, a carnival of sensual delights,
And around each corner surprises, changes in the world I knew,
But all for the better, the streets of nostalgia an exotic bazaar,
I was Valerie, and this was my week of wonders, but all in a day.

I talked with a lady, Though she looked at me, she kept her cool,
“Wow! This is so different, not what I recall,” I said to her.
She glanced at my tits, saying dreamy stuff with marshmallows.
“But I love this place… it’s like Orlando Ohio,” I laughed.

And it was, a curious alley of sculpted delights, a trip, a fancy,
A shopping festival, a parade built right into the walls around,
Colorful as cartoons, and shiny round shapes like daisies and dances,
Like my smile, but spilled out, sculpted and polished top to bottom.

How delicious, the day, trickling like sweet chai in my throat,
How delightful, the ginger warmth of it like curry on my tongue,
An open mouth awaiting each savory bite, each drip and swallow,
One girl, I, running wild through a suburb of earhtly delights.

Each person I passed, shocked, surprised, envious, but indifferent,
Helping me along here, sneering me a warning there, and all as one,
And me as one in them… but for the cops, those bad Blue Meanies,
Trailing me like dogs to take me down like the fair Draupadi…

Though I was already stripped, and all the same, running and hiding,
Ducking around corners when I saw their dark blue battle suits,
And me, child of the forest, running like a stalked and hunted doe,
Tickled as a flushing virgin bride and chuckling like a whore.

I woke up.

But at least in dreams I’d returned, and stole this home as mine,
Free at last, to live the colors of Saturday Morning cartoons,
Free at last to shed the past and dance alive my own fairy tale,
If only for an afternoon, if only for a dream, if not forever…

And ever.

Less To Me Than Falling Leaves


Less To Me Than Falling Leaves
by Justine Mara Andersen

Why the vine of thorns, if it is the nature of the bloom to fade,
Why the vine of thorns, if it is the nature of the bloom to fade,
And why the prick in knowing my fragrant youth is like a rose?

If poetry speaks truth, then words need be plucked like flowers,
If poetry speaks truth, then words need be plucked like flowers,
How thin then the fragrence of a thousand thoughtless words.

When the wisest of men say Shiva resides only in the silence,
When the wisest of men say Shiva resides only in the silence,
Why at Temple do I forever find him in chaos din and clamor?

If Brahman is light hereafter, how can I know this self to be,
If Brahman is light hereafter, how can I know this self to be,
When in a shell of darkness I have heard the song of Atman?

If in resigning to defeat, why is there a sadness warm as honey,
If in resigning to defeat, why is there a sadness warm as honey,
When all my grandest victories are not but gilded suffering?

May victory and vainglory bend me like wind through wildflowers,
May victory and vainglory bend me like wind through wildflowers,
And may both victory and defeat be less to me than falling leaves.